UK welcomes Trump-Putin meeting, says it must address Russian 'malign activity'

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the United States for defense.

While it's true that only a handful of the 28 member countries now spend 2 percent or more of their GDP on defense, a 2014 agreement gave all of them a decade to get to the 2 percent level.

Trump has taken an aggressive tone during the summit, questioning the value of an alliance that has defined decades of American foreign policy, torching an ally and proposing a massive increase in European defense spending.

USA officials have told Reuters Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

Before the summit, European Union President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump for his "daily" criticisms of Europe, pointing out that the EU spends more on defense than Russian Federation and nearly as much as China, and telling him to "appreciate your allies".

Earlier in the day, after Trump blasted Germany for buying Russian oil and natural gas, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sought to convey an attitude of slow, steady progress for the alliance.

Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to.

"I think it's fair to say that here in my office the team recognized what was coming and the importance of speaking out on it from my perspective and from the district's perspective", Curtis told Fox 13.

"On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union".

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We should first get to two percent", adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target.

All 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders including Trump backed a joint statement committing themselves to greater "burden sharing" and to the alliance's founding commitment that an attack on one member is an attack on them all - with no mention of the four per cent.

Trump's comment that Germany was controlled by Russian Federation earned a rebuke from Berlin. "There is no break-up between U.S. and Europe", the source said after Macron & Trump held "friendly" talks.

"We are having a great meeting, discussing military expenditure".

Later Wednesday, Mr. Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the summit.

The claims stem from criticisms about burden-sharing that Trump has made since just prior to his inauguration in January 2017. But at the bilateral meeting he exulted: "We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor".

Ahead of the Helsinki summit later this month, Putin also commented about the souring relationship with the U.S. Moreover, he displays a woeful ignorance of the work his predecessor's administration did to increase European defense spending.